U.S. economy continues to deteriorate; latest Fed Beige Book decidedly downbeat
**The U.S. recession has not bottomed, with almost all measures indicating further deterioration, the Federal Reserve said in its most recent Beige Book report, **released Wednesday.
**The Fed’s report shows continued downward pressure on the economy, with 10 of 12 districts reporting weaker conditions. **
Philadelphia and Chicago were the exceptions, which reported regional economies that had “remained weak” but did not note a decline in economic activity. The deterioration was broad-based, with only a few sectors, such as basic food production and pharmaceuticals, appearing to escape the reduced demand affecting U.S. and global economies, the Fed said.
Outlook: Looking ahead, the Fed rated “the prospects for near-term improvement in economic conditions as poor, with a significant pickup not expected before late 2009 or early 2010.”
Credit was tight, due to rigorous lending standards imposed by lenders. Consumer spending remained weak, but the Fed did note a slight firming in spending in many districts, after what it called “very disappointing” holiday season sales.
**Concerning inflation, the Fed said price pressures continued to ease across a wide spectrum of final goods and service. **
**Job market conditions remained weak, with rising layoffs and hiring freezes, and unemployment rising in all areas – which reduced or eliminated upward pressure on wages. **
**Manufacturing activity also fell, on a net basis, in every Fed District. One bright spot: bio-pharmaceutical firms. **
Real estate remained in a slump in most areas, “with only scattered, very tentative signs of stabilization reported,” the Fed said.
And when the economic news hit (after 3 pm) the market started to go down again. Did the government make a decision to not post the bad economic news till the Stock Exchange was almost closed?